GP2

Bahrain: Clivio Piccione preview

Clivio looks ahead to the last GP2 weekend in Bahrain As the GP2 series heads to the heat of the desert in Bahrain for the final races of the season, Clivio Piccione reflects on the first year of the Championship before taking to the Bahrain ...

Clivio looks ahead to the last GP2 weekend in Bahrain

As the GP2 series heads to the heat of the desert in Bahrain for the final races of the season, Clivio Piccione reflects on the first year of the Championship before taking to the Bahrain International Circuit on September 29th and 30th.

Clivio explains:

"This season has been a great experience for me with a lot of ups and downs and I am really pleased to have been involved in the first year of the GP2 Championship. It's a really strong series and I've been very impressed with the performance and power of the car. Coming from Formula 3, this is a huge step up for me and I could feel the difference immediately - amazing! The power is awesome and the cars are not far off the pace of the F1 cars so it's definitely great experience for the future. Driving at the same weekends as the F1 Grand Prix has also been really important as you get to meet the right people and get your face known. You also know that all the key Formula 1 people and media are watching so it's the best forum to show your race potential.

Although a lot of the circuits were new for me this year, I've now driven on over half the circuits on the F1 calendar so I'm happy to have put in the groundwork to learn them even though it's been quite challenging at times. The car is pretty hard to set-up and we only have 30 minutes to do this each weekend as well as familiarise myself with the circuits so its been a pretty steep learning curve this year! Although the basic package of the car is the same, with everyone on the same chassis, engine, gearbox etc, its possible to make quite a few changes on the car and some teams have more experience than others from F3000, which has really shown through the season.

The level of competition from the drivers has also been incredibly high this year and it's going to be even tougher next year as the series is bound to attract a lot of new talent. It's gone right down to the wire in the first year already between Rosberg and Kovalainen which shows how tight the competition is. If I had to put money on it, I'd say Nico will take the title this year as his car seems faster at this stage in the season and Heikki's been making a few small mistakes recently which is hardly surprising as he's been under much more pressure. He's pretty much led the Championship all season so it would be really tough to lose it this weekend.

Also, Nico's already raced in Bahrain which I think will be an advantage as it's unlike any track we've been to this year in terms of conditions. My main concern is the heat as this will be a really important factor all round for the cars, the teams and also for the drivers. The hottest race we've had so far has been in Budapest which was fine for me but I'll just have to see how it goes in Bahrain as temperatures can get as high as 50°!

The circuit also sounds pretty challenging as I hear the run off is really tight - once you come off the racing line, the grip goes completely as the track gets very dirty with sand which should make overtaking interesting. Saying that, I'm really looking forward to getting out on track in Bahrain as I've heard there are a couple of quick corners which I always like. The real challenge will be the heat though and I'm flying out early to do some acclimatisation work with my trainer, Bernie Shrosbree so I'm well- prepared.

This last racing schedule in Bahrain is pretty tight as well with Qualifying and Race 1 on the same day followed by the sprint race on Friday so I hope the car holds out in the heat. Talk about a challenging way to end a challenging season!"

- www.cliviopiccione.com

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Series GP2
Drivers Clivio Piccione